Monday, February 29, 2016

Information in February 28, 2016

The city of Detroit experienced bankruptcy from 2013 to 2014. The following information is the truth and we know that economic exploitation by the oligarchy is real. There are many reasons for it. It was caused by many factors like the severe decline in revenues along with massive depopulation. Long term unemployment and depopulation caused the city’s property and income tax revenues to decline. The state of Michigan also slashed revenues it had shared with the city. This caused more problems. Wall Street banks sold risky financial instruments to Detroit along with economic mismanagement (as done by Republicans and Democrats) increased the economic crisis in the city as well. Wall Street derivatives deals (plus predatory lending schemes that harmed disproportionately African Americans and Latino Americans) were disastrous along with the Great Recession. That contributed to the economic problems. Corporate entities moved money and other resources from Detroit into mostly white suburbs.  For example, the state of Michigan owes Detroit more than $220 million in revenue-sharing state assistance. But it has refused to release the money. Meanwhile, the banks that pushed unaffordable mortgages on thousands of Detroit homeowners during the boom should be maintaining and paying taxes on the foreclosed properties they repossessed in recent years. Instead, in many cases, they've simply refused to pay up. In other cases, the banksters have taken homeowners into foreclosure without completing the process and obtaining title to the homes. Thus, thousands of people have been forced out of their homes, only to find out that the banks continue to stick them with the tax bill. This crisis existed by virtue of the city no longer bringing enough revenue to cover its immediate expenses. In June of 2011, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed legislation allowing Detroit to continue collecting income and utility taxes. Dave warned in November 2011 that Detroit faced a projected cash shortfall of about $150 million by the end of March 2012. On Dec. 2, 2011, Michigan launched a preliminary review of Detroit's finances, citing the looming cash crunch. It found the city had a mounting debt problem with long-term liabilities estimated to top $12 billion compared with an annual budget of about $3.1 billion. In July of 2012, Dave Bing (or the then mayor of Detroit) imposed pay cuts on workers. City authorities audited Detroit’s services. Later, there was the appointment of the emergency manager over Detroit. His name was the lawyer Kevyn Orr. The problem with an emergency manager system in Detroit is that an emergency manager is unelected and the democratic voice of Detroit citizens were excluded in the process. The emergency management plan was instituted against the wishes of Michigan voters who voted against the establishment of an emergency manager via referendum (on Public Act 4 in November of 2012). Emergency managers exist in Benton Harbor, Ecorse, Flint, Pontiac and Allen Park, and in the school districts of Muskegon Heights, and in Highland Park. All except one of these cities--Allen Park is the exception--have Black majorities. Orr followed austerity principles just like Snyder (who passed a right to work law in Michigan). The bankruptcy situation was the Snyder and Orr wanted pensions to be cut and assets to be sold to creditors (even to the big banks) in order for bankruptcy to end. They refused to outline other alternatives, but claimed that they had no choice, but to do it.

In fact, Snyder's office had lobbied Orr to take the job as early as January of 2013 and openly discussed with him arranging for the Chapter 9 bankruptcy, according to e-mails obtained by labor activist Robert Davis. Detroit was formally declared bankrupt in December 2013, a landmark ruling by U.S. Judge Steven Rhodes, who cited the city's dismal finances and $18 billion debt. About 40 percent of the city's streetlights did not work and about 78,000 abandoned buildings littered the city. Progressive activists like Demos and many socialists dispute the $18 billion debt number. Rhodes in April 11, 2014 approved a key settlement between Detroit and 2 investment banks over costly interest rate swaps. There was another deal between retirees and pension funds aided by an $816 million pledged by foundations, the Detroit Institute of Arts and the state of Michigan. Barclays bank and others received money. The state constitution protects pensions from cuts, but workers in Detroit have had their pension cuts for the sake of economic reasons. The banksters have taken jobs, homes and now massive assets of a major city. Citibank, General Motors, Chrysler, and other large corporations received a bailout from the federal government, but Detroiters have not. Many older workers who were retired have been forced to go back into work because of their pensions being depleted. On September 10, Detroit reached a deal with three Michigan counties over regional water and sewer services that could eliminate one roadblock to federal court approval of the city's plan to adjust its debt and exit bankruptcy. The deal with Oakland, Wayne and Macomb counties created the Great Lakes Water Authority, a new regional water and sewer authority, but allows Detroit to maintain control of its local system. The deal was crucial to adjusting the city’s $18 billion of debt and exits the biggest-ever municipal bankruptcy. The end of bankruptcy in Detroit came about in December 10, 2014. In Detroit, the Brewster Projects and the Jeffries have been torn down and replaced with housing that most poor and low-income people cannot afford. The promised new housing for the most marginalized sections of the working class has never materialized in the U.S. There have been water shutoffs and many people were forced to pay huge water rates.  The Detroit News said that at least 4,000 households were living without water services including 66-year-old Fayette Coleman who has been shutoff since 2013. Out of the 200,000 customers, 108,000 were in arrears with 9,200 facing imminent terminations. Since the financial crisis of 2007 to 2009 and the bailing out of the banks, insurance firms and auto companies, the corporations have failed to reinvest their trillions of dollars in job creation or infrastructural improvements — because they would not guarantee the rate of profit these entities are demanding.  The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) was turned over to a “trust” for its management and a scheme to construct a new hockey arena by Red Wings owner Mike Illitch was approved by a compliant City Council even before the bankruptcy had been finalized. As others have sad, we have seen a decrease in the majority black city of Detroit. The city of Detroit is still mostly black. We want black people to flourish in Detroit. Also, many schools in Detroit have been filled with mold and waste. That is why teachers have been protesting for justice. Downtown Detroit has seen development, but income inequality and poverty are serious problems in Detroit as well. We want the liberation of people in Detroit.

Now, we know about the New Detroit. The Detroit of the 21st century is filled with strong, courageous people making a different. The truth is that tons of Brothers and Sisters in Detroit are creating businesses and making a difference. There is the black nationalist group called New Era Detroit confronting violence, setting up neighborhood programs, and standing up against police brutality. They show a red, black, and green flag to outline solidarity with black Americans and all black people of African descent. New Era Detroit is working on a range of projects, including a street watch program, in which men would patrol streets looking out for potential criminals. Other plans are boarding up vacant homes, establishing an afterschool program, and an effort called Come Black Home aimed at convincing blacks in and outside Detroit to buy property and invest in the city. On Angel's Night last month, they held a kids and family event in Highland Park with music, games, and sports. And on Thanksgiving Day, they handed out free food to needy people on public buses. "The reason you're seeing more of them is because some of those older groups are in decline and there is a void," said the Rev. D. Alexander Bullock, who founded two years ago the social justice group Change Agent Consortium. "Detroit has always been that kind of place ... there is something unchanging about Detroit. That activist-entrepreneurial 'I am somebody' spirit is still in this city." Bullock’s organization also deals with education and poverty. There is the group Moratorium Now! in Detroit. Also, there is the Coalition for Black Struggle that deals with police abuse, water shutoffs, and housing evictions. The Detroit chapters of new national groups Black Lives Matter and Black Youth Project 100 have been active as well. The philosophies of the various groups differ, but they will work together on many issues. INN ANY movement for social justice, divergent voices exist. That’s normal. Yet, we do agree with the same goal which is the freedom, justice, and equality given to black people and the rest of the human race.
The 2016 movie “Race” is a very important one. It is the second feature biopic about the great African American athlete Jesse Owens. Jesse Owens was a black man who overcame so much and won a record breaking four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. The movie was directed by Stephen Hopkins and written by Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse. The film stars the following actors and actresses: Stephan James (as Jesse Owens), Shanice Banton (as Ruth Solomon-Owens), Jason Sudeikis (as Larry Synder), Jeremy Irons (as Avery Brundage), William Hurt (as Jeremiah Mahoney), Adrian Zwicker (as Adolf Hitler), Anthony Sherwood (as Rev. Ernest Hall), and Carice van Houten (as Leni Riefenstahl).   The film was released in America in February 19, 2016.  TriStar will release the film in all other countries worldwide. The film was supported by the Owens family, the Jesse Owens Foundation, the Jesse Owens Trust and the Luminary. The story of Jesse Owens is inspiring. Jesse Owens was the youngest of 10 children (three girls and seven boys) to Henry Cleveland Owens (a sharecropper) and Mary Emma Fitzgerald in Oakville, Alabama. He was born on September 12, 1913. His family moved to the city of Cleveland, Ohio for better opportunities as part of the Great Migration. During this time, about 1.5 million African Americans left the segregated South. He called himself J.C., but his new teacher called him Jesse because of his strong Southern accent. He delivered groceries, loaded freight cars, and worked in a shoe repair shop while his father and his older brother worked at a steel mill. He had a great love of running. He was very athletics. Throughout his life, Owens attributed the success of his athletic career to the encouragement of Charles Riley, his junior high track coach at Fairmount Junior High School. Since Owens worked in a shoe repair shop after school, Riley allowed him to practice before school instead. Owens and Minnie Ruth Solomon (who lived from 1915 to 2001) met at Fairmount Junior High School in Cleveland. He was 15 and she was 13. They dated steadily through high school. Ruth gave birth to their first daughter, Gloria, in 1932. They married in 1935 and had two more daughters together: Marlene, born in 1939, and Beverly, born in 1940. They remained married until his death in 1980. Owens first came to national attention when he was a student of East Technical High School in Cleveland; he equaled the world record of 9.4 seconds in the 100-yard (91 m) dash and long-jumped 24 feet 9 1⁄2 inches (7.56 meters) at the 1933 National High School Championship in Chicago. He attended Ohio State University. Jesse Owens won a record eight individual NCAA championships, four each in 1935 and in 1936. He worked at part time jobs to pay for school. He was forced to stay in “black only” hotels and he ate at “blacks only” restaurants. Jesse Owens' greatest achievement came in a span of 45 minutes on May 25, 1935, during the Big Ten meet at Ferry Field in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he set three world and tied a fourth. He equaled the world record for the 100 yard dash(9.4 seconds); and set world records in the long jump (26 ft 8 1⁄4 in or 8.13 m, a world record that would last 25 years); 220-yard (201.2 m) sprint (20.3 seconds); and 220-yard (201.2m) low hurdles (22.6 seconds, becoming the first to break 23 seconds).

He came to Berlin in 1936 to compete for the United States at the Summer Olympics. During this time, Hitler was the leader of Nazi Germany. Hitler was a racist, an anti-Semite, an evil murderer, and an extremist. Fans in Berlin celebrated Owens’ arrival according to fellow American athlete James LuValle (who won bronze in the 400 meters). He usually had soldiers to protect him as he left the athletes’ village. Just before the competitions, Owens was visited in the Olympic village by Adi Dassler, the founder of the Adidas athletic shoe company. He persuaded Owens to wear Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik shoes, the first sponsorship for a male African American athlete. The 1936 Summer Olympic Games had huge crowds in Berlin. On August 3, he won the 100m sprint with a time of 10.3s, defeating teammate college friend Ralph Metcalfe by a tenth of a second and defeating Tinus Osendarpof the Netherlands by two tenths of a second. On August 4, he won the long jump with a leap of 26 feet 5 inches (8.05 m), later crediting his achievement to the technical advice he received from Luz Long, the German competitor whom he defeated. On August 5, he won the 200m sprint with a time of 20.7s, defeating Mack Robinson (the older brother of Jackie Robinson). On August 9, Owens won his fourth gold medal in the 4x100 sprint relay when coach Dean Cromwell replaced Jewish-American sprinters Marty Glickman and Sam Stoller with Owens and Ralph Metcalfe, who teamed up with Frank Wykoff and Foy Draper to set a world record of 39.8s in the event. This performance was not equaled until Carl Lewis won gold medals in the same events at the Soviet-boycotted 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. On the first day of competition, Hitler shook hands with only the German victors and then left the stadium. Olympic committee officials insisted Hitler greet every medalist or none at all. Hitler opted for the latter and skipped all further medal presentations. Historians have noted that Hitler may have left the games at this time due to looming rain clouds that might have postponed the games. This happened well before Owens was to compete, but has largely come to be believed to be the "snub.” There has been debate on whether Hitler snubbed Owens or not. Eric Brown and Mischner claimed that Hitler shook hands with Owens. Regardless of the truth (Hitler was an evil murderous person and I’m glad that the Nazi Empire was defeated in 1945), Jesse Owens made extraordinary and excellent accomplishments during the Olympics. Owens was allowed to travel with and stay in the same hotels in Germany as whites, while at the time African Americans in many parts of the United States had to stay in segregated hotels while traveling. During a Manhattan ticker-tape parade along Broadway's Canyon of Heroes in his honor, someone handed Owens a paper bag. Owens paid it little mind until the parade concluded. When he opened it up, he found the bag contained $10,000 in cash. Owens's wife Ruth later said, "And he [Owens] didn't know who was good enough to do a thing like that. And with all the excitement around, he didn't pick it up right away. He didn't pick it up until he got ready to get out of the car." After the parade, Owens had to ride the freight elevator at the Waldorf-Astoria to reach the reception honoring him. President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) never invited Jesse Owens to the White House following his triumphs at the Olympics games. While the Democrats had bid for the support of Owens, Owens rejected those overtures: as a staunch Republican, he endorsed Roosevelt's Republican opponent, Alf Landon, in the 1936 presidential race. By the 1940’s, he ended his track and field career. He worked baseball leagues. He ran businesses and worked in other ventures. It is a historical fact that at first, Jesse Owens refused to support the black power salute by African-American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Summer Olympics. Later, he changed his mind. In his  1972 book "I Have Changed," he expressed a more revolutionary opinion by mentioning the following progressive words: “I realized now that militancy in the best sense of the word was the only answer where the black man was concerned, that any black man who wasn't a militant in 1970 was either blind or a coward.” A few months before his death, Owens had tried unsuccessfully to convince President Jimmy Carter to withdraw his demand that the United States boycott the 1980 Moscow Olympics. He argued that the Olympic ideal was supposed to be observed as a time-out from war and that it was above politics. He died of lung cancer at the age of 66 in Tucson, Arizona. He was buried in Oak Woods Cemetery in Chicago. He was heroic black man who represented black excellence and his strength plus courage of the human spirit. So, I do recommend the film “Race” as it shows the story of the life of a strong black man who performed despite the odds. Hitler wanted to show the world that Aryan people were the dominant race, which was a lie. Jesse Owens proved him wrong and he was the most successful athlete of the 1936 Games. His four track and field gold medals at the single Olympics included the 100m, 200m, 4X100 relay, and the long jump. The record was unbroken for 48 years. Black excellence is real and Black is Beautiful.

By Timothy

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